Stakeholder mapping

On the IA Institute mailing list Patrick Walsh recently asked, “Is Stakeholder Analysis/Mapping a commonly used tool by IAs? It helps to identify all relevant stakeholders at the start of a project and can help ensure that they do not get overlooked.” He also pointed to a 2004 article in Boxes and Arrows by Jonathan Boutelle called Understanding Organizational Stakeholders for Design Success.
As long as I’ve been doing IA and related work I’ve understood stakeholder *interviews*, at the very least, to be a cornerstone of the discovery process. I had just assumed this was par for the course. Isn’t this how everyone does it?
Often the challenge is getting beyond the obvious stakeholders and getting access to the external stakeholders. There are a number of techniques for doing this, some qualitative (surveys, focus groups, interviews) and some quantitative (traffic analysis), but often I find that we need to rely on internal people, such as customer-support representatives, as proxies for external stakeholders because they at least have direct contact with them and are aware of some of their most pressing concerns.